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Area towns dry out following Tropical Storm Irene

OSSIPEE VALLEY BIBLE CHURCH put its thoughts about Hurricane Irene on its sign on Route 16 in Ossipee. Fortunately what became Tropical Storm Irene produced much less damage than expected in Carroll County. (Mellisa Seamans photo) (click for larger version)
September 01, 2011
OSSIPEE— As of Monday night, Public Service of New Hampshire was reporting hundreds of homes and businesses were still without power following Tropical Storm Irene's visit to the area.

In Effingham, 128 power outages were reported, 423 in Ossipee, 82 in Freedom, 99 in Tamworth, and a remarkable 3,455 in Wakefield. All 601 customers in Brookfield were without power on Sunday.

According to www.waterdata.usgs.gov, preliminary data recorded at the Bearcamp River in Tamworth shows, that area received about six inches of rain. In the week prior to Sunday's storm, there had been no precipitation and the river depth measured about four feet. Going into Sunday, the river was discharging about 30 cubic feet of water per second. What a difference a few hours made. The heaviest rain fell late morning and when it finally let up around 6:30 p.m., the river topped out at 9.32 feet and was discharging water at 5,590 cubic feet per second, according to weather data. In a very slow decline, the water level dropped throughout the day on Monday but was still at 5.82 feet Tuesday morning at 1 a.m. and was still moving 886 cubic feet of water per second.

In a summary of the storm response issued by Carroll County Sheriff's Department for the "emergency posture" period of Aug. 27 at 10 a.m. to Aug. 29 at 10 a.m., the county dispatch center handled about 691 calls, with the bulk of the calls coming in from noon to 11 p.m. Sunday. The dispatch center, which handles calls for much of Carroll County, reported 104 emergency 9-1-1 calls, 273 calls for service, and 314 other calls related to the emergency. There were also 3,227 radio transmissions, about 40 percent greater than a normal day in the dispatch center. Extra staff were brought in to handle the heavy call volume in the dispatch center and deputies were busy for hours throughout the county assisting with emergency calls and road closures.

Emergency crews manned fire stations and emergency shelters throughout the county. The majority of calls were reports of trees falling onto wires and across roads. There were also reports of flooding, power outages, debris, road closures, and floating debris.

According to Center Ossipee Fire Chief Michael Brownell, his department handled 18 calls during the storm period, including two medical aid calls non-related to the storm. They were called to assist West Ossipee Fire Department as firefighters from that department went into the water on Grizzly Road to evacuate a family from their flooding home Sunday night. They were called back on Monday to tie up a propane tank that was about to break free from that same house and get washed away in flood waters. The most significant road closure Sunday was Route 16 at the Lovell River when that fast moving water crested and flooded the highway at the southern end of the bridge.

Ossipee Public Works Director Brad Harriman will be working to get estimates and a repair plan for a section of Marble Road in Ossipee Mountains that has washed out completely and destroyed a bridge, cutting off at least two houses from the main road. At Monday's selectmen's meeting, board members explained they will likely have to get permission from NH Department of Revenue to spend money out of the town's surplus, (a.k.a. rainy day fund) to make what are most likely going to be very costly repairs.

Ossipee resident Jean Hansen told the board that the Ossipee Lake Dam Authority should be given credit for doing a good job managing the Ossipee Lake Dam. If dam had not been opened appropriately, she said, things could have been much worse. 'The lake came up two and a half feet overnight," she said.

Over in Freedom, two people had to be rescued at Danforth Bay Campground when a tree fell on their camper. No one was hurt in that incident.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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